Vilnius Celebrates the Opening of the Rainbow Crosswalk

To mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL decorated the crossing outside its office at Pylimo St. 21 (Vilnius) in rainbow colors. As the link between LGL’s LGBT community center and the jazz club Pavilijonas, which often hosts LGBT community events, the crossing is a significant one to the Vilnius LGBT community. This rainbow crossing in the city center will show Vilnius residents and guests that Vilnius is an open and LGBT-friendly city.

The opening of the rainbow crossing was the inaugural event of the Rainbow Days 2018 festival programme. Lithuanian Parliament members, city council representatives, the local LGBT community, residents and tourists were all invited to attend. During the opening event, a 30-meter-long rainbow flag was unfurled symbolizing the local LGBT community’s solidarity in celebrating Lithuania’s 100 years of statehood.

After the opening of the symbolic rainbow crossing, the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL invited the local LGBT community and allies to the community event of LGBT Voices. This event was a unique opportunity not just to spend some time together, but also to talk about the LGBT “umbrella” and the differences between our varying identities. A panel was held featuring people belonging to various LGBT subgroups – gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. What do we have in common, and how do we differ? Does the Lithuanian LGBT movement include and represent the interests of everyone under the LGBT umbrella? Does this umbrella give us unique solidarity and resilience, or are we just individual members of society who have little in common? The hostess Okeanide was helping the participants respond to these and other complex questions, as well as looking at issues relevant to the community from a new persepctive: is a bearded man in a skirt an appropriate character to express the LGBT community’s political demands?

The decoration of rainbow crosswalk was supported by the Office of the Embassy of Canada to Lithuania in Vilnius and the Embassy of Ireland in Vilnius.

© Augustas Didžgalvis